Victorian electricity network CitiPower is taking a different approach to engaging with its customers in light of COVID-19 restrictions as it begins a large infrastructure upgrade this month.
‘CitiPower.Brunswick’ has been launched as a dedicated Facebook group to support community engagement for an $18 million Brunswick Network Upgrade, which is modernising assets and improving the reliability of electricity supplies to local customers.
Between May 2020 and June 2021, crews will be installing 2.4km of new underground cables between the Brunswick Zone Substation on Brunswick Road and the West Brunswick Zone Substation on Albert Street.
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The Facebook group, created for customers, businesses and residents near the construction works, is the first of its kind for Australian energy networks, and was created to share updates, respond to questions and support local businesses throughout the project works.
Citipower major projects manager Shiyam Selvarajah said the Facebook group initially evolved from the social distancing rules impacting the way people live, work and study but has become a new opportunity for community members to participate in consultation.
“Our upgrade project is highly visible on major roads and while we are working to minimise disruptions, community members and businesses will see some changes to traffic conditions, public transport and power supplies,” Mr Selvarajah said.
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“We wanted to ensure we give everyone affected the opportunity to be engaged with us about this project. In addition to other communication available, the ability to have a two-way conversation via Facebook is a big benefit in the COVID-19 environment.”
The Facebook community also provides an opportunity for CitiPower to support local businesses and retailers who will be open for business throughout the upgrade project.
The Brunswick Network Upgrade includes decommissioning the Brunswick Zone Substation, first built in 1939, and moving the electrical load to the West Brunswick Zone Substation which is being upgraded to handle the extra capacity.
Underground cables connecting the two zone substations will be laid in Fallon Street, Dawson Street, Glenlyon Road, Ewing Street and Barkly Street. Traffic controllers and signage will be available to help ensure motorists, pedestrians and cyclists remain safe in changed road conditions.
Anyone interested in following the project’s progress is invited to join the Facebook group.